It is almost a cliché to say that India’s appearance and image (internationally as well as self-image) have changed dramatically in the last fifteen years. Instead of being associated with rural poverty, India is now associated with high rates of economic growth, a booming Information Technology (IT) sector and, particularly, an increasingly expanding middle class that consumes and behaves like elites and middle classes elsewhere in the world. Considering that cities concentrate many of the defining features of the middle classes (wealth, white collar jobs, educational institutions, and shops), the middle-classization of Indian cities seems a foregone conclusion. Indeed the changing urban landscape testifies to the increasing influence of a better-off, consumerist, western oriented section of the population: malls replace small roadside shops (Voyce 2007); restaurants and multiplexes mushroom all over the city; cows, cycles and scooters progressively disappear from the roads, replaced by luxury cars (Baviskar 2007); apartment complexes multiply, communities are increasingly gated (Falzon 2004), even while slums are slowly but surely evicted towards the periphery (Dupont forthcoming). In urban India, the rich are more and more visible, the poor less and less so

ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Mooij, J., & Lama-Rewal, S. T. (2009). Class in Metropolitan India: The Rise of the Middle Classes. In ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development. Retrieved from